Why you should look after your teeth to look after your body

You probably already know that eating lots of sugary foods, not brushing your teeth and avoiding your dentist can result in cavities and other dental issues. But did you know that poor dental health can also have an effect on the rest of your body?

Did you know that gum disease can affect your general well-being?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common dental problem. The issue begins with gingivitis, and can lead to periodontitis is left untreated. While it starts out as a mild nuisance and can easily be reversed, this ailment can become quite serious and lead to the loss of teeth.

However, there’s more to gum disease than just what it can do to your mouth. As periodontal disease occurs after a build-up of plaque on the teeth, the bacteria can travel to the lungs, where it can aggravate any existing lung conditions or even lead to infection.

There is also some evidence that gingivitis is linked to blood clots, clogged arteries and heart problems. While research in this area is still ongoing, it’s believed that the infection in your mouth that causes inflammation in the gums might result in inflammation in other areas of the body. When the arteries become inflamed, this can increase the risk of strokes and even heart attacks.

For example, according to Colgate Professional, one study showed that 60 per cent of research participants who had lost 10 or more teeth had carotid artery plaque. Naturally, losing 10 or more teeth is an extreme example of a periodontal disease that is generally easy to prevent and treat in the very early stages, but it does show that the more severe the dental problem, the more concerning the overall health damages.
In many cases, regular brushing and flossing, a balanced diet and visits to your dentist are enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Even if a problem arises that can’t be avoided through good oral hygiene (such as erupted wisdom teeth), your dentist will be able to spot and treat these problems before they have a chance to worsen or affect your general health.

Overall health and your teeth: A two-way connection!

It’s also important to note the link between your general well-being and your oral health, as many common issues can result in problems with your teeth and gums.

For example, those dealing with diabetes tend to be more susceptible to gum disease. This is because diabetes causes your blood to thicken, which hinders the flow of nutrients to your mouth and slows the removal of waste. In turn, this makes it harder for your gums and bone tissue to fight infection.

Osteoporosis is a difficult disease that decreases the strength of your bones over time. While many people will consider this in terms of their arms, legs, hips and other bones throughout the body, don’t forget that it can play havoc with your dental health.

Essentially, it’s vital to remember that your dental health and your overall well-being are closely linked. If one suffers, the other may also be adversely affected. If you’re concerned about this link (one way or the other!), don’t hesitate to chat to your dentist about the best possible steps to maintain good dental health.